Throughout the summer the Pathfinder Project - led by Wirral Council and Merseyside Police - has been running workshops throughout Wirral for children and young people, focusing on the consequences of crime and providing them with an informed choice on their own life direction.
As part of the project, the CELLS Team (Choices Education Lifelong Learning Skills) delivered positive decision making and crime prevention education to eight primary and eight secondary schools. The charity is made up of staff and volunteers who come from a variety of backgrounds. Some have been in prison, had difficult upbringings or suffered abuse and now use their experiences to help others.
One of the workshops which the CELLS Project held took place at Beechwood Little Centre and over 30 children aged between 7-12 attended. The children got to see a replica prison cell up close and experience how limited the space really is.
Relying on the testimony of rehabilitated ex-offenders and victims of crime, the workshop focused on joint enterprise, knife crime, drugs and alcohol and the impact it has on families. It also covered some of the legal aspects involved and the children were invited to take part in a mock court trail. A video was played of a fictitious crime taking place, followed by arguments from both sides about who was in the wrong. The children were then encouraged to make their own decisions about who was guilty or not guilty.
Sam Glancy, who is an award-winning youth worker from the CELLS Project, said: ‘Most people have affected by crime is some way, and we’re here to say we’ve been there and done it, we’re not here to judge anyone. Some people are still going to make bad decisions, even with all the right information, but if we can help or influence just one or two people each time we hold a workshop then we feel that we’ve done our job’.
Another activity on the day was a graffiti workshop where the children were given a blank canvas and encouraged to express themselves artistically. A healthy KFC lunch was also provided by and was cooked by the children.